Murray battles past Rosol
Andy Murray survived a stern examination from Rafael Nadal's Wimbledon conqueror Lukas Rosol to reach the third round of the BNP Paribas Open.
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Rosol wrote his name into tennis folklore in 2012 by blasting past Nadal in the second round at the All England Club and Murray knew exactly what he would face in their first clash.
The fifth seed, who had a first-round bye, found himself a set and break down on Stadium 1 at Indian Wells Tennis Garden but fought back to win 4-6 6-3 6-2 in an hour and 46 minutes.
There was little sign of the twists and turns to come as the first 20 points were all won by the server, Murray finally breaking the sequence in the sixth game.
But it was Rosol who broke serve, correctly challenging what Murray thought was an ace on break point and then thumping a forehand winner.
The Czech has one of the most powerful games on the tour and, as he showed against Nadal, can be a threat to anyone when it is working.
It was hit and miss in the early stages and Murray won four points in a row from 40-15 to hit straight back, only for Rosol to break again when an attempted Murray pass bounced off the top of the net and wide.
That left the world number 47 serving for the set.
He was lucky to escape a break point when he mis-hit a smash but when he did connect properly there was little Murray could do and Rosol clinched it with another searing forehand.
The Wimbledon champion looked in serious trouble when Rosol played a terrific game to break at the start of the second, but a fifth break in six games followed before Murray finally held.
It was a key moment, and the momentum swung further towards Murray when he broke again to lead 4-2.
Rosol applied pressure with his opponent serving for the set but one amazing scrambling lob helped Murray take it.
The Czech was being forced to go for ever more outrageous winners, and Murray stamped his authority right at the start of the third set.
There had been little to get the crowd excited but a forehand pass on the run from Murray certainly did as he broke for 4-1 on his way to a third-round meeting with Jiri Vesely.
Murray is still working his way back to top form after back surgery but said prior to the tournament that he is happy with his progress and excited by how he feels.
Explaining the turnaround against Rosol, he said: "I tried to play a bit more aggressively.
"He hits the ball extremely hard and if you're leaving the ball in the middle of the court then it's very difficult. I was having to defend a lot. But I started being a bit more aggressive and thankfully it helped."
Murray has often found life difficult at Indian Wells.
He did reach the final in 2009 but since then he has made two quarter-finals and lost his first match twice, against Donald Young and Guillermo Garcia-Lopez.
Murray said of his struggles here: "I think it's important sometimes to think about it because when you're not expecting it to happen and then it does, obviously it can take you by surprise and you might panic a little bit or worry.
"I was a set and a break down. I got broken three times in a row at the end of the first set and beginning of the second. I just kept going and found a way to win, which is always the most important thing.
"Sometimes I have taken quite long breaks after the Australian Open and trained and maybe come in with not enough matches.
"Often I play well in Miami just after so maybe this year will be different. I've played a few more matches to get ready here, and hopefully that will help me.''